Although I've got used to working from home, I still find it hard to remember to stand up and move around every now and then. But sitting still for hours is bad for my posture and not great for my circulation either.
While some people keep one of the best yoga mats laid out so they can take five minutes to stretch, I wanted to find a way to set up from my seat that'd build muscle simultaneously, but that didn't feel like a workout.
I settled on wall push-ups, the beginner-friendly push-up variation. There's a bit of empty wall space near my desk that's ideal for these, which meant I didn't even have to go far and could do a few while thinking about how to structure my next bit of writing.
Watch how to do a wall push-up
Because you don't need to change into workout clothes or make space for equipment, I found that I could easily fit in a few dozen repetitions to work my upper body and core while waiting for a coffee to brew.
Rather than set rigid hourly targets, I decided on a daily goal of 100 bodyweight wall push-ups to make my body move, take a break from my desk, and focus on my form. Here's what happened by the end of the 30-day challenge.
James is an experienced fitness writer and is always on the lookout for accessible ways to develop strength without weights. He's a fan of exercises you can incorporate into the day to move your body and maintain muscle.
1. My push-up form improved
You don't have to be just starting out to do wall push-ups, but they are a beginner-friendly way to ease into bodyweight push-ups, one of the best chest workouts at home. On the floor, it's easy to accidentally dump into your shoulders or back, which can lead to injury in the long run.
Posture and positioning are critical to the wall push-up, though. If you don't have your arms extended in front of your shoulders and palms firmly on the wall, then when you bend your elbows and lean toward the wall, it feels like you're about to fall over.
This focus on your form is one of the reasons that one study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that push-ups are one of the fundamental push-up variations to help you build muscle without weights.
2. It boosted my wellbeing
Sitting down for long periods isn't great for our bodies. I knew that sitting is bad for you before the challenge, but it's hard to remember to take a few minutes to stand up or move around, especially when you're busy.
According to the Mayo Clinic, researchers have linked long stretches of sitting to elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. They also note that "physical activity helps maintain muscle tone... and your mental wellbeing."
So it may not have been much of a surprise, but taking some time to stand up and move my muscles did make me feel better. The push-ups helped move blood around my body so that when I got back to work, I felt refreshed, and my mind was clearer.
3. My core got stronger
Push-ups are a classic upper-body move, working your shoulder, chest, and arms. But they actually help train your whole body, including your core, an area of mid-body muscle that includes your rectus abdominis, otherwise known as the six-pack ab muscle.
When I'm doing a quick workout, I often forget to tense my core during push-ups, so I end up arching my lower back. The wall push-ups were a convenient way to focus on activating my core before lowering towards the wall.
If you're learning how to do a plank, you'll notice that the position is almost the same as a push-up. So, focusing on building core strength with wall push-ups helps improve your performance in other exercises too.
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James is a London-based journalist and Fitness Editor at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.
In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.
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